Football: Liverpool midfielder Joe Cole underwent a medical at West Ham today as he closed in on a return to the club where he began his career.
Cole has started just nine Premier League games since he moved from Chelsea to Liverpool in the summer of 2010 and is thought to be keen on a move back to Upton Park.
If the deal goes through, the Hammers are hopeful of having him registered before midday today so that he can play in Saturday's FA Cup clash against Manchester United.
Cole’s return to the Irons would end a miserable three-year spell at Anfield, during which his best form came while on loan at French side Lille.
Upon his return he was deemed surplus to requirements by incoming Liverpool chief Brendan Rodgers, while the club’s bean-counters are keen to get his estimated £100,000-a-week salary off the wage bill.
Harry Redknapp, who managed Cole at West Ham, was keen to bring the player to QPR, but the Londoner has instead opted to return to his boyhood club.
“I lost Joe who would have been my first signing. He probably looked here and thought: ‘Harry I love you but you’re not going to stay up’,” Redknapp said following his team’s shock 1-0 win at Chelsea.
And West Ham midfielder Sebastian Lletget today welcomed the club’s move for Cole.
He tweeted: “Training with my man Joe Cole today, top player, looking forward to it #whufc #coyi.”
Yossi Benayoun, meanwhile, has returned to his parent club Chelsea, the Hammers confirmed today.
Benayoun joined West Ham on loan at the start of the season but his spell has been plagued by injuries and the midfielder has now gone back to Stamford Bridge.
“West Ham United can confirm that the loan of @YossiBenayoun15 has ended and he has returned to @chelseafc,” a statement on West Ham’s Twitter feed read.
“The club would like to thank Yossi for his efforts during his second spell with the Hammers and wish him the best of luck for his future career.”
Benayoun made six appearances under Sam Allardyce during his second spell at Upton Park, having previously been with the club from 2005 to 2007.